David Moyes admitted Everton had missed the influence of Tim Cahill after the midfielder's goalscoring return.
The Australia international scored one and made one as Greek side Larissa were overcome 3-1 in Uefa Cup Group A at Goodison Park.
Cahill was making his first start since March after sustaining a metatarsal injury against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, an injury which re-occurred against Werder Bremen in pre-season.
"Tim did what he does best and that's where we've missed him at times," said Moyes.
"The game was quite tight and we needed to get a goal to change it and we got that from Tim.
"Tim, as we know, is a 'Jonny on the spot' and I would think that he will help us. Tim allows us to play differently because he plays in a different role to any other player at the club, and we've not had that previously.
"Going into the game we were in a good frame of mind after the way we played on Saturday (against Liverpool).
"We were confident going forward and for most of the game we showed that, but it's great to have Tim back."
And with Thomas Gravesen also making a return to action after injury, the Everton fans left Goodison Park encouraged that their side can make a serious impression on the Uefa Cup.
Moyes added: "Now we've got competition for places and we're still needing to get Tim completely match-fit and we're still needing to get Tommy in the right condition.
"But they're positives that we've got them going in the right direction."
Larissa refused to surrender and arrived on Merseyside having bundled Blackburn out of the competition at the previous stage.
"I have to say, Larissa caused us some problems and at times they played well, so they can take a lot from the game as well," admitted Moyes. "In the end, though, I have to say that we deserved the victory."